The Last Bookish Recap

AnnasLibrary_BookishRecap

As I stated in the July Bookish Recap, this is my last month book blogging. Thank you so much for your support this two and a half years (a little more than that actually). I’ve had a wonderful time sharing my bookish thoughts with you and hearing your thoughts. I’ve had the opportunity to participate in some fantastic book tours as well. I’ll be moving away from book blogging so that I can concentrate on my own writing and photography (but mostly the writing). For those of you that are interested, my author blog will update once a month starting in September. Every so often I’ll feature the odd book review. I write mostly historical fiction with a dark speculative twist.

While I will no longer be updating Anna’s Library, I am going to keep the blog up for archival purposes. I know that quite a few of you have found books based on my reviews (which makes me super happy!) and I would like to keep this as a resource for people looking for new books. I have taken down the pages that are no longer relevant to reflect this.

Now for the fun stuff!

As this is the last Bookish Recap, I’m doing things a little differently. First there will be the usual bookish recap of August, then I’ll be recapping my favorite posts.

August Recap: August was a great month! I participated in two book tours and re-read an old favorite.

Book Tours/Reviews:
The Thirteenth Gate Book Tour
(Kat Ross)
To Tame a Wild Heart Book Tour (Gwen Mitchell)
Coraline (Neil Gaiman; 4.5 stars)

Bookish Lists:
Nerdy Books


And now here are some of my all time favorite posts. I picked my three favorite book reviews and three favorite bookish posts.

Top Three Favorite Book Reviews:

TheMartianCover
The Martian (Andy Weir; 5 stars): For how much I’ve said about this book and for how many previous lists I’ve put the book on, there’s no doubt this book would make it onto the list! It’s still one of my all time favorites and I plan to re-read it this November.

A-Madness-of-Angels-Book-Cover

A Madness of Angels (Kate Griffin; 5 stars): This book blew me away. It’s such an interesting and unique book, yet I’ve come to find that few people have heard of it. It was one of my earlier reviews, but reading and reviewing it was so much fun. Like I say in the review, “read now, thank me later.”

stephen-king-insomnia-cover

Insomnia (Stephen King; 4 stars): While not a 5 star review like the others, I feel like Insomnia is one of the overlooked books by King. Also, reviewing this tome of a book was a challenge, especially considering how many details there were. I really did enjoy this book and wish more people would give it a chance. It’s a fantastic example of weird fiction (instead of King’s usual horror) and all around great storytelling.

Honorable Mention: The review for this book, both a 5 star and 3 star rating makes this review the only one of its kind on the blog. Not to mention it’s one of my favorites. So the honorable mention goes to Twilight (Stephanie Meyer).

Top Three Favorite Bookish Posts:

TBR List: Publisher Style: While I really loved making the TBR lists, I think this one was the most fun. It’s not a typical way to decide how to read books and I liked being able to share that.

Book Haul: Birthday Style: This was a long list! But it was a lot of fun to do! I got so many books that I had been excited about for so long. I also got introduced to some new books (such as the The Shiva trilogy) and some old favorites. Not going to lie, I also had a lot of fun making my own little book tower. If you missed that post I really encourage you to check it out. I got a wide variety of books so hopefully you’ll find something that perks your interest!

TBR: Airport Edition: Ok, so I actually got about 1/3rd into one of the books on the list and while I loved it, I got so distracted by exploring everything that I kind of dropped reading. Whoops! I still have all these books safe on my Kindle and am looking forward to reading (and finishing) them. I have fond memories of browsing Amazon to hunt these babies down.

 

Thank you so much for sharing this bookish venture with me. I loved being able to share my thoughts with y’all. It’s been a rewarding and fun adventure. Happy reading!  ~Anna

Advertisements

Updates

During the time I was away I made quite a few tweaks to the blog.

First of which is what genres I’ll be reading in the future. I had over ten genres I would read and review, and while that was fun, I feel like it would be easier on all of us if there was a bit more cohesiveness. I also noticed a pattern in which genres I read more of, so I decided to stick with those.

From here on out, while there will be the odd ball book from time to time, the genres I’ll be reviewing are the following:

  • Horror/Paranormal (especially weird fiction)
  • Fantasy (any)
  • Mystery (any)
  • Thriller/suspense (any)
  • Historical fiction that falls within those genres

I also am making more of a move toward reading adult fiction. Fret not though! If it’s YA and falls into the above genres, I’ll still give it a go. Just expect more adult fiction in the future.

If you’re an author of any of the above genres you’ll be happy to know that reviews and book promotion are once again open! Check out the updated About Reviews and streamlined For Authors pages if you’d like to request a review.

I’ve made some tweaks to some of the pages (updated Must Reads and changed the title of “Past Reviews” to “All Reviews”), so check those out when you get the chance. I also added a new page, Reviews by Genre which will hopefully help you track down the sort of review you’re looking for more easily.

What y’all are probably most interested in and excited about is new posts! To make sure that I can stay on top of things and bring y’all the best content, I’ll only be posting once a week on Fridays. There will no doubt be some exceptions to the rule as I’m hoping to participate in more blog tours and book blitzes as well as bring y’all some guest posts. I’ll still be posting theme related lists, and of course, October will still be dedicated exclusively to horror and weird fiction. The monthly Bookish Recap is here to stay, although it will be tweaked.

I’m excited for these changes and am really happy that I’m going this route. I think this will make things more fun and more manageable. Which obviously means more posts and more books!

Book Birthday! Whispers in the Dark

Book Birthday! Whispers in the Dark

|+| Warnings: Death and mild violence |+|

“Good for you dude;  you’re now officially my favorite zombie.” ~Karen 

Happy Book Birthday to Pam Jernigan’s award winning debut novel, Whispers in the Dark! Zombies and the apocalypse take on a new life (pun not intended) in this clean adult dystopian novel.  I had a lot of fun reading it and you can read my review below. You can check the book out on Goodreads and get your copy on Amazon.

WhispersitDark_Cover

Goodreads |+| Amazon

Author:  Pam Jernigan

Genre: Adult Dystopian; Christian Fiction; Romance

Synopsis: She’s a preschool teacher. He’s kind of a zombie. It would never work…
Karen teaches post-apocalypse preschool, safe inside city walls. She never intended to get caught outside.

Leo is technically alive, but perpetually zoned out: Mindless. He can see emotions as colors now, though, so at least there’s that. Like the other Mindless, he feeds on the emotional energy of humans. Then he meets Karen – her unique energy jolts him to partial awareness, and he’s hooked. He protects her but when she’s rescued, he lands in a cage.

Leo doesn’t expect her to even talk to him, much less help him. But that emotion she has when she looks at him? He doesn’t know what to call it, but it’s not fear.
Karen can go back to her life – if she abandons Leo. She can’t stay with him, she can’t take him home… but without her, he’s dead.

He saved her. Can she save him?

My Opinion: Usually Christian fiction is a hard sell for me but the premise of this book was far too interesting for me to pass up. I wasn’t disappointed! Karen is a lovable heroine, and for the most part all characters are well fleshed out. The world building is well done and the wry humor was spot on. I had a couple of issues with the pacing, but overall this book was a fresh and a delightful read. For these reasons I gave the book four stars.

What I liked most about this book was the new take on zombies. The Mindless, while acting lifeless are actually feeding off people’s energy instead of their flesh. They kill not to eat humans, but so that they can experience the intense fear people feel before death. Once dead, the dead are left alone. For people who aren’t a huge fan of gore, this is great. The Mindless are well explained throughout the book. The more we discover about the Mindless the more we discover about the world Karen and her friends live in.

Speaking of Karen…even in the darkest of times people still love and find humor in things. Karen was the epitome of this. Her humor was fantastic and lead to some of my favorite interactions with Leo (as well as other characters). She needs to be saved true, but she does the saving just as frequently. To see her organic growth was delightful. Leo was surprisingly well fleshed out and honestly I can’t decide if I loved him or Karen more. Each character was well defined even if we didn’t see them frequently. There were a few characters I felt could use some more attention but I’m willing to forgive that thanks to Karen and Leo’s relationship. There’s a lovely Beauty and the Beast vibe within that relationship too. This was a really neat and fun touch.

With all that being said, I did have a slight problem with the pacing. For the most part it was spot on, but at times things felt a little too repetitive. Karen has to come to terms with a lot of things, and frequently we see her struggling with these issues over and over again. Eventually it leads to some fantastic character development, but I felt the repetition slowed the book down somewhat.

I also felt that the Christian themes were overstated in parts. For new Christians this is a wonderful book, exploring the ups and downs of faith. For long term Christians or non-believers parts can feel more like a conversion attempt than a way to build faith and can sometimes distract from the plot.

Even so, I really did enjoy this book. It was a quick read simply because it was so fun to read. The world building, interesting characters, and great concept make this fun and fresh.

TL;DR: Even if you aren’t a huge fan of Christian fiction or dystopian books, you really should give this book a shot. With a focus on all kinds of love, a heroine who can save herself and others, as well as a really interesting concept, this book is a fun read.

P.S….

WitD_FBParty

If you want to hang out with the author and join me and other fans (as well as some special guests and maybe win some goodies), be sure to check out the book release party on Facebook! It takes place on May 6th (this Saturday) at 8pm EST/5pm PST.

Book Blitz: The Cursed Trilogy

Book Blitz: The Cursed Trilogy

I’m always on the look out for more diverse books, so when I heard about The Cursed Trilogy I fell in love. Diversity, family ties, and high fantasy makes this an instant add to my must-reads list.

Here you’ll find the series summary, a giveaway (opened internationally), and an excerpt.

thecursedtrillogy_cover

Goodreads |+| Amazon |+| Barnes & Noble |+| iBooks |+| Kobo |+| Smashwords

Summary: An urban fantasy series for fans of the “Supernatural” TV show, CURSED tells the story of Constance Ramirez, a hardened young woman determined to protect her adopted sister, Dro, from the bloodthirsty demons hunting her– and from Dro’s own deadly powers. As the sisters cross paths with demon slayers, psychics, and angels, they become tangled in a dangerous web that brings Constance’s past back to haunt her. Protecting her sister and her new allies will test Constance in ways she never imagined– though she may be too human to survive it.

Excerpt:

cursedtrilogy_teaser3

About the Author: Amy is a Canadian urban fantasy and horror author. Her work revolves around monsters, magic, mythology, and mayhem. She started writing in her early teens, and never stopped. She loves building unique worlds filled with fun characters and intense action. She is the recipient of April Moon Books Editor Award for “author voice, world-building and general bad-assery,” and the One Book Two Standout Award in 2015 for her Cursed trilogy. She has been featured on various author blogs and publishing websites, and is an active member of the Writing GIAM and Weekend Writing Warrior communities. When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, watching movies, taking photos, gaming, and struggling with chocoholism and ice cream addiction.

You can hang out with her on her author website, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

 

Bookish Recap: Top 5 Faves…So Far

AnnasLibrary_BookishRecap

So we’re about half way through the month that is the half way point through the year. My birthday is this week so to celebrate I’ve decided to share my top five favorites of the year so far. This actually wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be. I’ve reviewed all of these books and included links to the reviews if you missed them and want to check out my more in depth thoughts.

TheMartianCover

The Martian (Andy Weir): Does it surprise anyone that I listed this book first? It’s the one I talk the most about, I don’t even know why I’m pretending like this wouldn’t have been on the list. I just put it on another list too. You can tell I love this one! I loved the humor and the resilience that Mark had. The nerd in me rejoiced at the behind the scenes look at NASA and all the science not related to space. I am a die hard fan of survival stories and this one came with science. I was sobbing at the end and I think the only other book I cried so hard at was The Hobbit. You can read my review of it (The Martian, not The Hobbit) here. I promise I don’t talk about potatoes…much.

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 9.11.19 PM

The Raven Boys (Maggie Stiefvater): This book came as a surprise for me. I was expecting it to be kind of meh, over-hyped, and not my cup of tea despite the lovely writing style. I was so wrong. I am so, so glad that I was so, so wrong. I deeply connected to each of the main characters and was awed by the beautifully executed plot. The world building blew me away. I set aside reading the series so that I could buy all of it. Now I just need to prepare myself for major feels. The Raven Boys is one of my most recent reviews and you can check it out here.

WeAwakenCover

We Awaken (Calista Lynne): Asexual representation? Check. Cute girls loving girls? Check. Magic? Check. Lovely world building? Check! I was stoked when I was offered the opportunity to read and review this book, but I was also anxious. As someone who has asexual friends and who is on the asexual spectrum herself, I was pretty worried about how accurate the representation would be. I didn’t have a thing to worry about and really enjoyed the organic romance that developed between the characters. I also loved Lynne’s writing style. Overall, We Awaken struck me as an incredibly elegant book.

IFunny_Cover

I Funny (James Patterson): Speaking of diversity…I Funny was a wonderful and incredibly quick read. I really loved the humor in it, and adored how Jamie defined himself outside of his disability-something that is so hard for us to do. While I couldn’t relate to the situation Jamie was in, I could relate to the bullying, the struggles of middle school and the need to define yourself outside of your disability. This is the sort of book I wish I had when I was in elementary and middle school, and I’m so glad that the I Funny series is available for today’s generation. You can read my review here.

MalalaCover

I am Malala (Malala Yousafzai): This was a really hard book to read at times because of the struggles Malala, her family, and her friends went through. It’s hard to believe that this stuff actually happened because America is seemingly so far removed from these issues. That was one thing I loved about this book. Through honesty and passion Malala shows that education can be improved everywhere and that it’s everyone’s business that we educate everyone in the upcoming generations. No matter their gender. This was hard to review due to the fact that it was so powerful for me and I needed time to sit on it, but I managed it!

So, have you got any favorites of the year so far? Any way you could narrow your list down to just five? I’d love to hear what books you’d put on your list as I’m always (needlessly, my TBR pile is massive) on the look out for new books to read!

The Exiled Seven (Book Blitz)

The Exiled Seven (Book Blitz)

Ok, so I took one look at this summary and had to get my hands on the book. I’m currently reading it and I can tell you it’s fantastic! Be sure to check out the excerpt and giveaway (US/CAN only) below. It’s 100% worth it.

TheExiled7cover

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Book #1 in The Exiled Series

Published May 12, 2016

Author: Blake Renworth

Genre: New Adult Fantasy/Faerie Tale Retelling

Synopsis: When Alariq is exiled from his home city-state for a crime he did not commit, only six stand by his side, convinced of his innocence and steadfast in their loyalty.

The seven dwarfs must set out from Ishtara to look for a new place to call home, but in doing so, they make a discovery that puts them all in danger. They are rescued and taken in by a mysterious and beautiful outsider, who lives alone in the depths of Loraheem Forest. What follows is Alariq’s struggle to come to terms with his exile, as those around him seek to make a place for themselves in this new life. Soon, however, it becomes clear their situation is more complex than they initially realized, and they begin to wonder if there is more behind Alariq’s exile than simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Told in a unique storyteller voice, this reversal and reimagining of the classic fairy tale explores the themes of shattering betrayal, the subsequent struggle to trust again, and the basic desire to take control of one’s own destiny.

 

Excerpt: If you will, please imagine the tallest and most beautifully handsome man you can, the complete and perfect embodiment of classic male beauty, charm, and chivalry. Now—cast this image far from your mind. For this tale is not about him. Many of such tales have already been told, and to tell yet another would be a great disservice to the other heroes of the world.

The hero around whom this tale revolves—and a hero I assure you he was, even if your faith may waver during the events that follow—was a hero of a different sort. Though it would be altogether unfair to say that he did not entirely look the part. He was as handsome as dwarfs come. Strong, in both physique and demeanor, and clearly one who commanded respect. But his jaw-length, dark blonde hair, the color of wet straw, and not even five-foot stature are not what you and I are accustomed to seeing in our mind’s eye when we think of the heroes of tall tales. Nor his slightly crooked nose or angular jawline, for that matter.

What about his personality, you ask? For, of course, looks are not all that matter in a
champion. And I applaud your depth of character. But sadly, I must disappoint you and your commendable optimism. For this hero was not charming, or dashing, or gallant, or really very pleasant in any way at all. In fact, he could be downright unpleasant to be around when in one of his all-too- frequent foul dispositions. And unfortunately, it is in such a disposition that we find Alariq as we join his story.

As disagreeable as Alariq was, I am sure you will find his demeanor quite understandable. You see, his story is an unfortunate one. We find him, and his six loyal companions, banished from their city-state, Alariq for a crime he did not commit, and the others for their loyalty to him and their faith in his innocence.

Seven dwarfs they were, exiled and alone.

a Rafflecopter giveaway